A War for the Soul of America
A History of the Culture Wars
Buchanan’s fiery speech marked a high point in the culture wars, but as Andrew Hartman shows in this richly analytical history, their roots lay farther back, in the tumult of the 1960s—and their significance is much greater than generally assumed. Far more than a mere sideshow or shouting match, the culture wars, Hartman argues, were the very public face of America’s struggle over the unprecedented social changes of the period, as the cluster of social norms that had long governed American life began to give way to a new openness to different ideas, identities, and articulations of what it meant to be an American. The hot-button issues like abortion, affirmative action, art, censorship, feminism, and homosexuality that dominated politics in the period were symptoms of the larger struggle, as conservative Americans slowly began to acknowledge—if initially through rejection—many fundamental transformations of American life.
As an ever-more partisan but also an ever-more diverse and accepting America continues to find its way in a changing world, A War for the Soul of America reminds us of how we got here, and what all the shouting has really been about.
1: The Sixties as Liberation
2: The Neoconservative Kulturkämpfe
3: Taking God’s Country Back
4: The Color Line
5: The Trouble with Gender
6: The Sacred and the Profane
7: God, State, and the Curriculum
8: The Battle for the American Mind
9: The Contested American Past
his subjects, other than to confirm the existence of the culture wars as a distinct moment in American history. His is not the final word on that moment. It is, however, among the most reliable accounts thus far."